Indiana Chapter - American Planning Association

The Real Cost of Affordability

Posted on May 18th, by Jill Ewing in Uncategorized. No Comments

By Kathryn L. Wertz

You’ve probably seen it numerous times before, Indianapolis featured as one of the nation’s most “affordable” cities in a national publication and ranking. Just last year, Forbes ranked Indianapolis the 9th most affordable city and Bloomberg noted that Indianapolis was the third most affordable rental market in the nation. This isn’t another one of these stories.

What these rankings, and others like them don’t take into account, is the huge impact of transportation. The majority of the cities on those lists have one feature in common – they are all car-centric, low density suburban cities. In a city with limited access to transit and sprawling residential development, how do we actually stack up? First we have to understand what it truly takes the average family to live and work in Indianapolis.

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